Tag: The Atlantic (page 1 of 15)

Dealing with mental pain

This article is from a series that Arthur C. Brooks has in The Atlantic entitled ‘How to Build a Life’. He includes four bits of advice but I’m sharing this mainly so I can share my own approach to dealing with general background anxiety and existential angst.

First, I found several years ago that taking L-Theanine tablets every day is a gamechanger. I recommend them to anyone who will listen. And then, recently, I’ve found that running almost every day makes a huge difference. I literally can’t be anxious while running.

Man sitting with cast on leg

Wouldn’t it be nice to have a handy tool to blunt everyday mental pain a bit? Not to become numb to life—just to take the edge off, especially when it is interfering with normal life, the way you can swallow a Tylenol when your back hurts. It turns out that there are safe and healthy methods to do exactly this, including taking the same sort of painkiller for what ails your body and your mind. And that’s only the beginning.

Source: A Shortcut for Feeling Just a Little Happier – The Atlantic

Ian Bogost on hybrid work

I always enjoy Ian Bogost’s articles for The Atlantic as they’re thought-provoking. In this one, he talks about how ‘hybrid work’ is doomed, mainly because The Office is a construct, a way of organising life and work, and heavily invested in the status quo.

A rational assessment of your time and productivity was never quite at issue, and I think it never will be. Companies have been pulling employees back to work in person irrespective of anyone’s well-being or efficiency. That’s because return-to-office plans are not concerned, in any fundamental way, with workers and their plight or preferences. Rather they serve as affirmations of a superseding value—one that spans every industry of knowledge work. If your boss is nudging you to come back to your cubicle, the policy has less to do with one specific firm than with the whole firmament of office life: the Office, as an institution. The Office must endure! To the office we must go.

This should be obvious, but somehow it is not: The existence of an office is the central premise of office work, and nothing—not even a pandemic—will make it go away.


Even in the technology sector, where the tools of remote work are manufactured, the Office reigns supreme. Before the pandemic, Big Tech companies doubled down on the sorts of work environments that had been common for almost a century: urban high-rises and suburban office parks. (Think of Microsoft’s campus in Redmond, Washington; Google’s and Facebook’s in Silicon Valley; Apple’s spaceship in Cupertino; and the Salesforce Tower in San Francisco.) Their deluxe office amenities—free food, gymnasiums, medical care, etc.—only underscore this point: The tech industry has a deep investment in the most conservative interpretation of office life.

If the companies that design and build the very foundations for remote work still adhere to the old-fashioned values of the Office, what should we expect from all the rest? It’s still possible that hybridized knowledge work will become the norm, with work-from-home days provided as a perk. But to get there, office workers must organize, and take the goals and power of the Office into account. It does not want to be flexible, and it cares little for efficiency. If the Office makes concessions, they will be minor, or they will take time; hybrid work is not a revolution.

Source: Hybrid Work Is Doomed | The Atlantic

Crypto clowns

If you’re at the top of the Ponzi scheme pyramid, you have a vested interest in keeping it going…

Not coincidentally, the companies doing the least reflecting are the ones with their hands deepest in the cookie jar. Part of what spurred on the current crash was a cryptocurrency called TerraUSD, a type of so-called stablecoin designed to more or less equal the value of the U.S. dollar. The whole point of stablecoins is that they’re supposed to be less volatile than other cryptocurrencies, a way of protecting your money while still keeping your chips in the casino. That was the idea, at least: TerraUSD was tied to another cryptocurrency called Luna, and when its value plummeted in early May, investors promptly dumped their TerraUSD. Tokens meant to sell for $1 a pop were suddenly trading for almost nothing, and, according to Bloomberg, $60 billion of investors’ money was zapped away.


As the wider crypto market has tanked in the weeks since the Terra collapse, other flailing companies have been similarly unwilling to publicly reflect on the damage. The crypto lender Celsius Network made it big by promising yields much higher than those of traditional bank accounts. That approach generated gobs of money when crypto was booming, but apparently it hasn’t fared so well during the downturn. As rumors began to circulate about Celsius’s financial issues, the company’s founder, Alex Mashinsky, dismissed it all as “FUD,” crypto shorthand for “fear, uncertainty, and doubt.” “Do you know even one person who has a problem withdrawing from Celsius?” he tweeted. Just over 24 hours later, the company put a freeze on all withdrawals, locking customers out of their accounts. (The freeze remains in place almost two weeks later.)


Throughout the industry, there’s a sense from the biggest players in crypto that if we all just keep the faith, traders can effectively spend their way out of the crisis. Cameron Winklevoss, the billionaire co-founder of the crypto exchange Gemini, recently tweeted that the bitcoin dip feels “irrational,” because “the underlying fundamentals, adoption, and infrastructure have never been stronger.” It’s not a question of fundamentals, though; asking people to look more closely at the tech will not somehow end the bear market. A few days ago, Michael Saylor, whose software company, MicroStrategy, has spent billions of dollars acquiring bitcoin, called the cryptocurrency “a lifeboat, tossed on a stormy sea, offering hope to anyone in the world that needs to get off their sinking ship.” But right now, bitcoin is the sinking ship.

Source: Crypto Is Crashing. Have the Crypto Bosses Learned Anything At All? | The Atlantic